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Judge criticizes State Department over Blackwater shooting case [USA/Iraq]

A federal judge...harshly criticized the U.S. State Department over its handling of a 2007 shooting in Baghdad involving Blackwater Worldwide security guards and asked the agency's watchdog to investigate problems that helped delay a related criminal case. The prosecution of the former guards, who were charged with manslaughter in the killing of 14 unarmed civilians, has dragged on for years amid problems with evidence. "If the Department of State and Diplomatic Security Service had tried deliberately to sabotage this prosecution, they could hardly have done a better job," U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who is overseeing the criminal case against the former guards, said in an opinion...He asked the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, which is prosecuting the case, to ask the inspector general of the State Department to fully investigate the problems.

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